Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan late Tuesday evening announced a nationwide lockdown, urging citizens to remain in their homes until March 31 in an effort to contain the spread of Coronavirus, reporting that cases in Armenia have reached 249, an increase of 14 cases in 24 hours.
Pashinyan reported that a 77-year-old man who had tested positive for the Coronavirus was in critical condition, while four other were in “serious” condition, adding that 11 patients were over the age of 65 and five were over 70.
“We have 30 patients with pneumonia, five are in the intensive care unit. One of them, a 77-year-old citizen is in critical condition, four are in serious condition. We have 888 quarantined people, 2,419 have been asked to self-quarantine,” Pashinyan reported.
He added that coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Yerevan, as well as the Armavir, Ararat, Aragatsotn, Syunik, Kotayk, Shirak and Lori Provinces.
“We must do our best to prevent deaths. That is exactly what our actions have been directed at,” said Pashinyan, adding that four patients had recovered and have been discharged from hospital while another 37 will go home after a 14-day quarantine.
“Our fellow citizens taking to the streets will have to clearly explain where they are going and those explanations must fit into the logic of people’s vital movements,” said Pashinyan.
“I want to apologize to all of your for these restrictions and inconvenience,” he said. “But I hope it is obvious to all of you that this is done for your safety and the safety of our parents and grandparents: pillars of our national self-consciousness.”
The government committee overseeing Armenia’s state of emergency held a briefing on Tuesday and explained that the lockdown measure was aimed at restricting direct contacts in an effort to spread the virus.
The committee explained that all restaurants, cafes and most production facilities have been ordered to close. However, it said, production of food, beverages and cigarettes will be allowed. Grocery shops, supermarkets and pharmacies will stay open.
Under the lockdown, citizens will need identification documents and special permits to venture outside. They will also be required to fill in a special form to explain the purpose of leaving the house.
Meanwhile, Armenia’s Health Minister Arsen Torosyan on Tuesday toured several facilities that have been designated Coronavirus treatment centers.
According to Torosyan, the Nork Infectious Clinical Hospital will soon be equipped with 151 regular and 13 intensive care beds. Another 40 beds will be placed in a newly constructed modular building for patients waiting to be tested. He also said that a CT scan will be
installed at the Infectious Diseases Hospital to detect coronavirus-related pneumonia early.
Torosyan said the Police Hospital will be equipped with 170 regular and 14 intensive care beds.
The orthopedics center will soon have 140 regular and 16 intensive care beds, while 76 regular and 48 intensive care beds will be placed at the St. Mary’s Maternity Hospital in Malatia-Sebastia district.
“We currently have 41 lung ventilation devices specifically for coronavirus patients, none of which are still in use,” said Torosyan.